Icicle Station

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Icicle Station
Amtrak inter-city rail station
Icicle Station platform shelter, August 2010.jpg
Platform view of Icicle Station
Location11645 North Road
Leavenworth, Washington, US
Coordinates47°36′23″N 120°38′38″W / 47.60639°N 120.64389°W / 47.60639; -120.64389Coordinates: 47°36′23″N 120°38′38″W / 47.60639°N 120.64389°W / 47.60639; -120.64389
Owned byBNSF Railway
Line(s)BNSF Railway: Scenic Subdivision
Platforms1 side platform
Tracks2
Construction
ParkingShort-term stalls
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeLWA
History
OpenedSeptember 25, 2009
Traffic
Passengers (2018)7,443[1]Decrease 9.44%
Services
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Everett
toward Seattle
Empire Builder Wenatchee
toward Chicago
Location
Icicle Station is located in Washington (state)
Icicle Station
Icicle Station
Location in Washington
Icicle Station is located in the United States
Icicle Station
Icicle Station
Location in the United States

Icicle Station, also known as Leavenworth station, is a train station in Leavenworth, Washington, United States. It is served by two daily Amtrak trains on the Empire Builder, which travels west to Seattle and east to Chicago. The station has one platform and is located northeast of downtown Leavenworth, which is noted for its Bavarian village theme. Icicle Station opened in September 2009.

Description[edit]

Icicle Station is located one mile (1.6 km) northeast of downtown Leavenworth on North Road. It consists of a single platform on the south side of a double-tracked section of the Scenic Subdivision, owned and operated by BNSF Railway.[2][3] The platform is 600 feet (180 m) long and has two small covered shelters, a bicycle rack, and a portable toilet.[4] The station has 20 short-term parking stalls and a small cabin with a passenger waiting room.[5][6]

History[edit]

Amtrak platform at dusk

Leavenworth was founded in 1892, shortly after the Great Northern Railway arrived to begin construction of their route across Stevens Pass towards Seattle, which was completed on January 6, 1893.[7] The town grew around the railroad, as Great Northern operated mines and lumber mills in the area, until the railroad relocated its train operations in 1926.[7] Great Northern ceased its regular passenger train service to Leavenworth in the mid-1950s,[3] but continued to run special trains from Seattle to serve spectators for the city's annual ski jumping competition.[8][9]

A city program in the 1960s promoted the renovation of buildings to fit a Bavarian Alpine theme that successfully began to draw tourists to Leavenworth.[10] Annual excursion trains for the Autumn Leaf Festival and holiday festivals began in 1964, which were initially operated by Great Northern and funded by a nonprofit group until private travel agencies took over.[11][12] The excursion trains continued for a year under Burlington Northern, the successor to Great Northern, and Amtrak after it took over national passenger rail operations in 1971.[13][14] The excursion trains were canceled in 1991 because of inadequate facilities and was replaced by a free shuttle bus from Wenatchee station.[15][16]

The regional economic development council and the Port of Chelan County began studying the feasibility of year-round train service to Leavenworth in the early 1990s.[17][18] The two agencies lured an undisclosed company from Utah to run an all-year weekend dinner train service after negotiations with Burlington Northern and Amtrak in 1993, including the construction of a 300-foot (91 m) platform in Leavenworth and a depot to fit the city's Bavarian theme.[19][20] Negotiations with Burlington Northern were stalled over scheduling issues and existing freight congestion, but civic boosters in Leavenworth returned with alternate proposals the following year.[21][22]

In April 1995, Amtrak announced its interest in adding a Leavenworth stop to the transcontinental Empire Builder if a platform were to be built with local funding.[23] The port proposed joint funding of the platform with Leavenworth on the condition that Amtrak would commit to adding service once construction was completed.[24] Amtrak and the port entered into further negotiations with an undisclosed tour operator who would organize potential excursion trains during the holiday season and other festival periods, rather than using the Empire Builder.[25][26] The tour operator, Alki Tours, began running holiday excursion trains in December 1996.[27][28] Amtrak, the port, and the local chamber of commerce contributed to funding a new temporary platform on North Road for the excursion train.[29] Alki Tours also chartered a special round-trip train between Seattle and Spokane for the Lilac Festival in 1997, with a stop in Leavenworth.[30]

Following a second market feasibility study in 2002, the Leavenworth city government began campaigning for a permanent all-year stop on the Empire Builder to be located on North Road.[31][32] The proposal earned the support of U.S. Senator Patty Murray and state senator Linda Evans Parlette, and the city government entered into negotiations with Amtrak and BNSF Railway.[33][34] The city was awarded a $75,000 grant from the federal government to initiate design work on the station project, which would be funded by a mix of government grants and private donations.[35]

In February 2007, Amtrak and BNSF gave conditional approval for an Empire Builder stop in Leavenworth that would begin after completion of the permanent station, named "Icicle Station".[36] In the agreement with BNSF, the city government was required to acknowledge that the Empire Builder could move to the Stampede Pass corridor and bypass Leavenworth entirely.[37] The $750,000 project received $250,000 from the state government and $300,000 from the federal government's development funds, in addition to $200,000 raised by the city government.[3][38]

The station was designed by HNTB and split into two project phases, to be built on a former BNSF staging area. The first phase would construct a platform, two shelters, and a parking lot. The second phase would include a larger, Bavarian-style shelter, additional parking stalls, and a longer platform.[6] In May 2008, the first phase's estimated cost was revised to $850,000, with the shortfall planned to covered by private donations in a funding campaign launched by the city mayor.[39] The planned opening date of November 2008 was also delayed to September 2009.[40] By the end of the year, the city government had raised an additional $175,000 to cover the construction of the first phase.[3][41]

Construction of Icicle Station began in late June 2009 shortly after the bid was awarded to a Wenatchee firm.[42] The first half of the platform was completed in July and the second half was poured in early August.[43] Icicle Station was opened on September 25, 2009, with a crowd of 200 people attending a dedication ceremony upon the arrival of the first eastbound train from Seattle.[44][45] The new station served 4,461 passengers in its first four months of service, exceeding ridership estimates set by Amtrak.[46] In January 2013, a small cabin was installed in the station's parking lot to act as a warming shelter for passengers.[47][48] The second phase of the station project remains partially funded, with $900,000 allocated by the federal government in 2010.[49]

Services[edit]

Icicle Station is served by two daily Amtrak trains on the Empire Builder, a transcontinental route connecting to Seattle, Spokane, and Chicago. The next stops on the Empire Builder are Everett to the west and Wentachee to the east.[50][51] During Saturdays in December, Alki Tours offers daytime excursion trains between Seattle and Leavenworth using chartered Amtrak trains.[52][53]

The station has no direct bus service, with Northwestern Trailways and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach using a separate facility in Leavenworth on U.S. Route 2.[54] A private company, Leavenworth Shuttle & Taxi, operates fixed-rate taxi service between Icicle Station and other areas of Leavenworth.[4][55] Link Transit, the local transit operator serving Leavenworth, does not operate buses that reach the station.[56][57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fact sheet: Amtrak in Washington" (PDF). Rail Passengers Association. 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  2. ^ "City of Leavenworth Comprehensive Plan" (PDF). City of Leavenworth. June 2017. p. CF9. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Leavenworth, WA (LWA)". Great American Stations. Amtrak. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Cantwell, Brian J. (October 29, 2009). "Amtrak to Leavenworth: nice ride to Oompahtown, with a few hiccups". The Seattle Times. p. D6. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  5. ^ Steigmeyer, Rick (February 6, 2009). "Icicle Station on track to open this fall". The Wenatchee World. p. A2. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Icicle Station will bring trains and tourists to Leavenworth". Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. November 26, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Steigmeyer, Rick (September 3, 2006). "Leavenworth 100: It's the centennial of the town that's gone from boom to bust to a bustling, tourist-filled bit of Bavaria". The Wenatchee World. p. A1. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  8. ^ Livesley, Bud (January 28, 1966). "Experts Are Away; It's an Off Year". The Seattle Times. p. 25.
  9. ^ Prochnau, Bill (February 12, 1960). "Ski-Jump Records Due To Fall at Leavenworth". The Seattle Times. p. 16.
  10. ^ Green, Emily (March 11, 2003). "One Couple's Defining Moments: To the Pacific Northwest, They Gave 'Bavarianization'". Los Angeles Times. p. A1. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  11. ^ "Leavenworth Rail Excursion Is Scheduled". The Seattle Times. September 15, 1968. p. D6.
  12. ^ Morris, Maribeth (February 26, 1987). "In other words, don't give up!". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. C2.
  13. ^ Moody, Dick (February 28, 1975). "All-day excursions railroaded out". The Seattle Times. p. A13.
  14. ^ Lacitis, Erik (May 14, 1985). "Rail rally: It's time to support your local Amtrak". The Seattle Times. p. E1.
  15. ^ Bjorhus, Jennifer (December 28, 1995). "Amtrak weighs holiday train". The Seattle Times. p. B1.
  16. ^ "Snow train heads to Leavenworth for the holidays". The Seattle Times. November 26, 1996. p. E5.
  17. ^ "EDC: Train to Leavenworth feasible". The Wenatchee World. December 16, 1992. p. 12.
  18. ^ "Dinner train on track for Leavenworth". The Wenatchee World. March 17, 1993. p. 1.
  19. ^ "Excursion train plan hits snag". The Wenatchee World. April 21, 1993. p. 6.
  20. ^ "Bavarian depot designed". The Wenatchee World. May 5, 1992. p. 6.
  21. ^ "Leavenworth train sidetracked". The Wenatchee World. June 18, 1993. p. 6.
  22. ^ "BN interested in Leavenworth". The Wenatchee World. June 12, 1994. p. 7.
  23. ^ "Amtrak considers Leavenworth stop". The Wenatchee World. April 19, 1995. p. 10.
  24. ^ "Amtrak commitment sought for Leavenworth depot plan". The Wenatchee World. October 11, 1995. p. 6.
  25. ^ "Amtrak considers excursion train: Scheduling Leavenworth run would be a tight squeeze". The Wenatchee World. December 21, 1995. p. 1.
  26. ^ "'Snow train' report disputed". The Wenatchee World. December 31, 1995. p. 11.
  27. ^ "Special train coming to Leavenworth". The Wenatchee World. October 17, 1996. p. 6.
  28. ^ Partridge, Michelle (December 5, 1996). "The Christmas train is coming back!". The Wenatchee World. p. A3.
  29. ^ Maher, Stephen (November 7, 1996). "Christmas train gets new stop". The Wenatchee World. p. 7.
  30. ^ Clark, Doug (May 18, 1997). "Parade special attracts railroad fans". The Spokesman-Review. p. A1. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  31. ^ Partridge, Michelle (June 9, 2004). "Briefly: City Council supports train station idea". The Wenatchee World. p. A3.
  32. ^ Altaras, Sharon (February 11, 2005). "Leavenworth seeks its own train station". The Wenatchee World. p. A1. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  33. ^ Lacayo, Erik (July 25, 2005). "Push under way to bring Amtrak to Leavenworth". The Wenatchee World. p. C1. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  34. ^ Altaras, Sharon (August 25, 2005). "Lawmakers back Leavenworth train project". The Wenatchee World. p. A2. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  35. ^ Mehaffey, K.C. (March 16, 2006). "Eight NCW projects selected for federal transportation grants". The Wenatchee World. p. A2. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  36. ^ "Icicle Station project receives critical nods of approval" (PDF) (Press release). City of Leavenworth. February 8, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 13, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  37. ^ Mehaffey, K.C. (February 9, 2007). "Train service to Leavenworth on track: Amtrak, railroad give green light, but conditions raise concerns". The Wenatchee World. p. A1. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  38. ^ "Murray makes NCW projects a priority in spending bill". Leavenworth Echo. December 26, 2007. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  39. ^ Dunn, Ian (May 27, 2008). "Full steam ahead for Icicle Station". Leavenworth Echo. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  40. ^ Patrick, Jay (June 4, 2008). "Leavenworth train stop delayed". The Wenatchee World. p. A1.
  41. ^ Dunn, Ian (November 4, 2008). "Train station project steaming forward". Leavenworth Echo. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  42. ^ Steigmeyer, Rick (June 24, 2009). "Leavenworth train depot chugs along". The Wenatchee World. p. A2. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  43. ^ "Project Updates". Icicle Station Project. City of Leavenworth. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  44. ^ Pratt, Christine (September 26, 2009). "The little town that could: Leavenworth's got a train". The Wenatchee World. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  45. ^ "Icicle Station is now open". Leavenworth Echo. September 30, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  46. ^ Irwin, Mike (March 24, 2010). "Train riders, commuters all aboard to Leavenworth". The Wenatchee World. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  47. ^ Dunn, Ian (October 24, 2012). "City Council moves forward to purchase temporary building for Icicle Station". Leavenworth Echo. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  48. ^ Dunn, Ian (January 2, 2013). "New Leavenworth city ordinance requires sidewalks be cleared of snow". Leavenworth Echo. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  49. ^ "Station's second phase awarded $900,000". Leavenworth Echo. August 18, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  50. ^ "2019 Washington State Rail System Plan" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. December 2019. p. 19. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  51. ^ "Empire Builder Schedule" (PDF). Amtrak. April 29, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  52. ^ Brown, Andrea (November 21, 2013). "Leavenworth lights up Christmas with Old World style". The Everett Herald. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  53. ^ "Alki Tours' Leavenworth Snow Train" (PDF). Alki Tours. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  54. ^ "Icicle Train Station". Leavenworth Shuttle & Taxi. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  55. ^ "City council discusses train station issues". Leavenworth Echo. February 17, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  56. ^ Dunn, Ian (May 27, 2008). "LINK considers fewer trolley stops in Leavenworth". Leavenworth Echo. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  57. ^ "Leavenworth DART Service". Link Transit. Retrieved January 9, 2020.

External links[edit]